apps

Rise of the App Economy

As a technical architect and a start-up enthusiast, part of my work is consulting organizations on how to go about implementing and monetizing their ideas. The past decade’s experience of working in this field, as well as having successfully built the product and development teams of two start-ups (which secured VC fundings) ensures that a lot of people are willing to share their ideas so that I can advise them on the implementation.

Each year has its set of trends. These trends become apparent when people read about them in TechCrunch / Mashable and then integrate them somehow in their plans. In 2014, Kleiner Perkins’ analyst, Mary Meeker announced that the Education and Healthcare industries are the ones to watch out for. A lot of individuals started thinking and re-shaping their ideas along those lines. Similarly, since 2013, the famous analyst has been saying that mobile Apps are going to dominate the way consumers are going to engage with the brand.

I am seeing more start-ups gravitate towards this concept every year. Everybody who has a product, wants to also have their apps in the app stores (both Apple’s and Google’s). Back in 2000, when the DotCom Boom was apparent, everybody wanted to have their own site. Currently, we are definitely seeing the App Boom, where not only do entrepreneurs want to have their apps, but also individual celebrities are launching their own apps.

App Development can be a costly affair, with native apps costing as high as 2000 to 3000 USD to develop for the most basic apps. Add multiple platforms (iOS, Android, Win8) to the mix and the development costs surge.

This is where app template marketplaces like this website help tremendously. The core functionality is already in place, what has to be created is the creatives and voila, a custom app is read! Not only is this approach a faster method, but also it is extremely profitable. With the app economy maturing, we are seeing retail consumers using their handheld devices more than television sets!

This means that the media consumption is changing, thus an app is slowly eating away at TV’s timeshare. With tablets growing at 80% Year on Year, I’d say that both mobiles and tablets are here to stay, and with them a horde of enterpreneurs, developers and investors who would be happily launching multiple apps!

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DeathtoStock_Food10

Food for Thought: Part Three

Desperately trying to keep this series to a one a month affair, so that my blog does not look like a link farm … eep! I am even afraid to type that … but I have to say this .. I don’t want my blog to end up being a link farm. There I said it!!

Having said that, there were quite a few articles which I wanted to share this month!

The Top 10 Algorithms in the 20th Century

Computer.org put together this list of algorithms which had the greatest influence in the 20th century. Now, that’s a lot to think about … some of the algorithms which are mentioned, I had studied as a student! I would not say cutting edge, however, they did have a huge impact.

Funny, I did not see the Y2K or the Bubble Sort algorithm (which every green gilled programmer ends up using).

The Ultimate Guide to Leaving Comments On Blogs

I am a big fan of Darren Rowse and the words of actionable wisdom he shares on ProBlogger. Every blogger wants comments on his posts and although I haven’t had much comment love from you folks, I would still prefer genuine comments as opposed to spammy comments from Black Hat SEO agents.

In this post, ProBlogger teaches how to correctly post comments on popular blogs. It’s a great way to get noticed, start interacting with like minded people and get some trickle down traffic on your blog.

Why did Google make an ad for promoting “Search” in India where it has over 97% market share?

In India, Google has a huge 97% market share in search engines. That’s huge! If you have been an internet user in the past month or so, you would have noticed a slew of Ads on Google Search. Warming and touching this Ad reminds us of how we use search and how Google search is now accessible for mobiles.

I am not going to give the answer away, read this article on Medium!

Financing a Start-Up

Starting an organization is difficult. Especially when you have to arrange the financial support to aid your endeavour. This article on Edupristine helps us in finding different ways in which one can raise money to fund their venture.

This article is close to me for personal reasons as well .. not only have I worked with this organization, but also I am trying to start an organization and this article has come of use already!

Deep Learning 101

Step aside Big Data, there is a new buzzword in town … it’s Deep Learning!!

Yes, we already have Neural Networks, and Machine Learning … Deep Learning goes a step further. Do take some time and read this. It’s on the climbing slope of the Hype Cycle right now. If you can talk more about it, it will get you noticed Winking smile

Why I am not canceling class tomorrow

It is not often when students talk in awe of their teachers. I have been fortunate to have met such teachers … some of whom I have already mentioned in the past.

In this case, the university staff were on a strike, but the professor still went on to teach his class and emailed them in advance to come attend that lecture. It’s a heartfelt email where the professor brings the focus on the value one must place on education and how individuals should look at learning.

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olx

OLX is not only Badi Badi Baatein

If you have missed out on the Badi Badi Baatein ad which has been running on the television for quite some time now, do check it out. I am embedding the ad below as well (I love the melody and the jingle … not to mention that sometimes I do identify with the procrastination tendencies as well!!)

OLX is the india classifieds of the internet. Where people go to the site for searching good deals, selling their stuff or even offering professional services.

Online Marketplace

The market for local online market places is heating up. The once free model of Craig’s List has suddenly seemed more viable and profitable by a lot of Indian players. However, do not worry, the local marketplace model is not only Badi Badi Baatein … there is huge money in this business.

How does this free model turn profitable?

Well, lead harvesting for one. Providing correct information to the people seeking it for another. Essentially creating a marketplace where otherwise there was only ignorance.

Where else would I go for finding a second hand slightly used Samsung Galaxy SIII for INR 20000?

As I said before there are multiple players in this game … but I feel of the lot, OLX is different.

OLX stands out

With a clean User Interface (UI), simpler forms and very easy user experience, I have found that OLX is the easiest to operate. Yes, I do use the site for promoting my companies offerings in the different targeted cities.

The good part about the OLX site is that when my ad goes beyond the listing due to inactivity, I get reminded via an email … clicking on the email automatically logs me in and lets me edit my listing. This way, I can fine tune my listing and hope to generate more business.

Success is not only defined on how well the website looks … if you have gone through any of the different and varied category/city listings on OLX, you will suddenly see a plethora of different listings … people wanting to purchase something or the other, people offering services … the perfect online souk.

Going ahead

In any market, there initially is a lot of people who are shouting and vending their wares … over a period of time as the market matures, the successful businesses buy out the lesser successful ones and the market quietens down. And from there a clear leader emerges. I won’t be too surprised if OLX is among those leaders of online local marketplaces in the future.

The fact that they have received their Series A funding simply goes to point out that people are willing to put their money where their mouth is and that this business is a profitable one.

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Start-up? Head to Bangalore

If you are forming a start-up or planning to start one, then Bangalore is one of the best places where you can set this up. A simple search for jobs in bangalore will give you a huge listing of career opportunities in this city. Bangalore is definitely a contender for being the Silicon Valley of India.

What makes this city such an attractive spot for start-ups?

  • Perfectly located: Bangalore is easily reachable by air, road, rail and water. So cargo freight companies have their major offices in this city. The recent upgrade of the airport also has scaled up the air traffic capacity of the city. Visitors of the city who have been travelling in Bangalore for the past decade would know what I am talking about.
  • IT Hub: Bangalore is one of the first IT mega cities in the country. What this means is better infrastructure as compared to the other cities, a tolerant government and a nurturing ecosystem of good quality labour. Even today, it is still known that to setup a tech-based startup, you need to be in Bangalore
  • Follow the Money: A lot (and I mean A LOT) of Venture capital Firms are based in Bangalore. Firms such as Accel, Sequoia, Argonaut, DFJ are all based out of Bangalore and generally try to see whether the organization they are investing in can shift their bases to this city.
  • Awesome Weather: Throughout the year there’s only one cool temperature in this city. It amazes me as to how this can be, but there you have it.

Obviously, with such great pros there have to be a few cons (the traffic being amongst the main ones there!). Hey, its not Valhalla that we are talking about right? A lot of great tech-based startups are here … Flipkart, Myntra to name a few.

So, forget other places such as Mumbai (too expensive), or Hyderabad (no good programmers). Head on to Bangalore and setup a base there!

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Don’t hire dogs

don't hire dogs

Dog’s are a man’s best friend. They are considered as faithful, loyal and will always be there to lift you up. A dog will fetch things for you and do silly tricks such as sit, roll over, etc.

In different companies, there is one such breed of employees. Don’t get me wrong, I am not objectifying people, and this is an analogy, if anything. So this breed of employees … they behave in the exact manner like dogs.

They are generally taken from the street or from the wild, they do not have any formal skill set with them. It’s probably because of this reason that they are extremely loyal to the company. They are willing to go the extra distance and spend more time in the office working unrealistic deadlines and striving to satisfy their masters.

Obviously, who would want to say no to such employees! Right?

Well, wrong!! Change is the requirement of all organizations, especially the small ones and the ones which are growing at a fast pace. The problem now magnifies is because you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (yes, I wanted to work this cliché into this post!!). Any organization that is growing at a fast pace (60% – 100% growth YoY) would require such a huge influx of talent, that the loyal dog would now be forced to question his erstwhile unquestionable value in the company.

This is the risk, and it’s a huge one. Why is it a risk? Because at some point in the founder’s life, this loyal employee has done a favor and worked in ridiculous conditions. Now that the dog is tired and cannot do anything new, it has become a liability for the organization. Not only does it sadden the person, but the organization cannot put this figurative dog to sleep.

So if you are an entrepreneur or about to start your firm, do yourself a favor and do not hire dogs.

Addendum

Arjun Bakshi writes –

This phenomenon is not restricted to start-ups:-) Most “Big” organisations are not very different.
I feel HR / Organisations are lazy and want the easy way out. Have a template of qualifications and experience required to hire, short-list such people thru employee referrals and employment consultants and then hire them.
Why take the risk to hire people outside the template and take efforts on them?
In case you follow sports, the recent example of Jeremy Lin is a very good example of the malaise which also exists in our hiring practices. I am sending just one of the millions of articles on him. I think, Malcolm Gladwell also has a few artcles on a similar theme.

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olx_ad.png

Will you advertise with this site?

olx_adI was checking on my list of target keywords on Google for both SEO and SEM, when I chanced upon “CFA Hyderabad” where we are doing good on both the paid rankings as well as the organic rankings. When I was checking the ad, I noticed that one of the ads was by olx (in case you do not know about this site, do not bother to find out!).

They have recently started advertising in a heavy way (even on TV as well).

Buying advertisements so you could sell your advertising platform? Really? Is that how effective your platform is, that you have to pay to get traffic?

Or are you just trying to siphon off traffic from one of the market leaders?

In fact not quite sure whether they are directly in the advertising space, somewhere between Craigslist and e-Bay. I still wonder, why will anyone pay good money to put advertisements on this site?

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CloneWars

Clone Wars

First came Best Buy.

People were happy, they got good deals, saved some money. Good … but meh! Perhaps their launch was before time. Avante Garde.

Then came Groupon.

A multi-billion dollar valuation, e-commerce 2.0 buzz, social media tongues wagging about. It was the next big thing since the Internet.

I guess over a period of time, folks soon realized that the business model was pretty simple really. Get bulk, negotiate with vendors and give back a small share back to the users. That was also the eYantra model. I hear its gotten its second round of funding as well.

Followed by a slew of Groupon clones … there are too many of them really to name a few. The unfortunate thing is that not one of them is willing to call themselves a Groupon mee-to. We are different is what they all say.

Everybody on this planet is unique, just like 7 billion other people.

If you thought that I would be writing another nerdy review of Star Wars, you are mistaken, Ser.

With Groupon clones sprouting everywhere on the Indian e-commerce scene, its going to be a war out there. The war is going to be played out in our inboxes, on our cellphones, on our social media pages and in our tweets. Our credit cards will be the trophies, each transaction a battle on who will get us the cheapest deal. If you thought that it would make me happy, its not.

All the discounts in the world are not worth the beauty of a spam free life. It’s been ages since I have seen an empty inbox, gotten no sms-es. The Clone Wars are on, and you are the next battle!

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